Agni is Sanskrit for “fire.”
Agni, the fire within, is responsible for the digestion, absorption, assimilation and transformation of food and experiences into energy. Ayurveda classifies 40 different agnis, or fires, within the body. The largest, and most significant fire is jāthara agni – the main digestive fire where the stomach meets the small intestine.
A strong, balanced agni is fundamental to good health.
When digestion is working well you feel clear, light, radiant, confident and energized.
When digestion becomes unbalanced, it creates ama. Ama is any undigested food, thoughts or emotions held within the body and the number one cause of disease!
It can’t be overemphasized that a healthy digestion is KEY to being healthy.
When our digestive fire is strong and balanced, we digest our food well. Properly digested food is able to be absorbed and assimilated into the body as nutrients, creating the cells and tissues of our physical form. We believe – “We are what we eat” or the more appropriate Ayurvedic saying “You are what you digest.”
Well digested food becomes readily available nutrients, creating healthy cells and tissues, thus creating a healthy, strong, well formed body. Someone with a healthy fire on all levels emanates a healthy glow. They have ample energy, enthusiasm, vision and motivation.
“Neither food nor environment upsets those people with the gift of sama agni. The have a calm, quiet, loving mind and great clarity of awareness and bliss.” Dr. Vasant Lad
In opposition, improper digestion can become one of the first and foremost ways to create health issues and disease.
Four Types of Agni
SAMA AGNI = BALANCED DIGESTIVE FIRE
- digestion, absorption, and elimination are all normal and healthy
- you digest food easily, without any symptoms or even noticing
- regular weight
- clear, sharp, alert senses
- feces or stool is similar to a brown, ripe banana and floats
- tongue is pink, soft, smooth and moist with little to no white coating in the morning
- good energy, a bright mood and pleasant demeanor
VISHAMA AGNI = IRREGULAR DIGESTIVE FIRE
- Vata type digestion
- fluctuates between nonexistent or weak to a strong hunger. variable
- erratic and shows up at random times
- irregular eating patterns
- can cause gas, bloating, gurgling, distention, or constipation
- underweight or overweight
- stool tends to be small, dry, or hard
- tongue has brownish-black coating, is dry, or has scalloped edges
- low energy, get tired easily
- tends towards feeling ungrounded, fearful, anxious, insecure, etc
TEEKSHNA AGNI = SHARP DIGESTIVE FIRE
- Pitta type digestion
- hunger is sharp, fierce, intense or strong
- person can get “hangry” or irritable without food
- hypoglycemic or blood sugar issues
- can cause: acid reflux, heart burn, hot flashes, acid indigestion
- stool is more often soft, loose, or tends towards diarrhea. Can be rusty / orange in color, falls apart, or has undigested pieces of food in it.
- yellow coating on tongue, red patches or red spots, or a bright red tongue
- gets tired when hungry
- leads to judgemental or critical attitude, anger, etc
MANDA AGNI = SLOW DIGESTIVE FIRE
- Kapha type digestion
- slow, weak, dull, sluggish digestion
- hunger is low. feel full easily
- can skip meals, but may eat when bored, depressed, or for pleasure
- gains weight easily
- has mucous, cough or congestion often
- can create edema, water retention, nausea, loss of appetite, allergies or obesity
- stool tends to be soft, dense and heavy. dark brown or black, possibly with mucous and tends to sink
- white coating on tongue, more moisture, excess saliva or slimy coating
- gets tired after eating
- leads to depression, attachment, greed, lethargy and dullness in mind
Beyond just the physical, our agni impacts our emotional and subtle bodies. It allows us to digest ideas, feelings, and experiences. It influences our ability to process, discern, vision and actualize. When the cellular connectivity is clear and open, we are clear and open. We have less blockage, disconnection, fogginess and therefore have the impulse to make better choices for our over-all health. Energy flows easier, allowing us to flow easier with life. The space and clarity within the minute and subtle channels of our being allows consciousness, love, and bliss to emanate.
If you need help to balance your digestive fire, I would be happy to help. Click here to book an Ayurvedic Assessment.
~ ~ AGNI DEVA ~ ~
“Agni, the transformative energy, is the mouth of the gods, the mouth of consciousness, the sacrificial fire. If we say that God is pure awareness, then agni is the mouth of pure awareness. Even awareness is nourished by agni, which is a bridge between lower consciousness and higher consciousness. Agni is a bridge between the human lower self and the divine self, Para Brahman. Agni is the expression of Purusha as concentrated, condensed awareness, which becomes the flame of light, the flame of attention.” ~~ Dr. Vasant Lad